We booked this tour through a Cruise Critic Roll Call. We had (I think) 18 participants so we had two small vans, one driven by Dennis and the other by "Flash", the co-owners of Terry Tours.
They were waiting for us on the pier and we got a good early start ahead of the big tour busses - just one more advantage of a small private tour operator! Both vans were clean inside and out, and the PA system and AC worked just fine - not always the case!
We first made a stop at Kiwi 360, a sample kiwi farm and extensive gift shop. Fascinating to see how they grow and to learn why the name changed and how the popularity has exploded worldwide.
Our next stop was Te Puia, New Zealand's Arts and Crafts Institute, where we first toured a reconstructed Maori village. It was interesting to see how Dennis and Flash switched off in describing the various sites - as though this were scripted! They both seemed so knowledgeable about what we were seeing.
They interrupted this portion of the tour because they saw that the famous Rotorua geysers were erupting, and since they don't erupt on a schedule like "old Faithful", you have to be there when it happens. We got there in plenty of time, and saw the most dramatic portion of the eruption. If you're there when there is any wind, remember to protect your camera from the spray downwind. Also, the smell of sulphur is quite strong. This was followed by the "boiling" mud, which is apparently sold as a skin treatment.
Next was a stop at the Kiwi House, where you can actually see some of these normally nocturnal flightless birds that are so famous in New Zealand.
Back to the Maori Institute where they had purchased admission tickets for us to see the Maori Cultural Experience, where they had arranged for one of our tour members to be named the "Chief" of our tribe, and interface with the Maori Chief. This was most impressive. We were then invited by the Maori Chief to enter the sacred meeting house, where we were treated to a wonderful music and dance performance by current-day Maoris dressed in traditional costumes.
After leaving Te Puia, Dennis and Flash asked us what kind of lunch interested us and gave us some options. We ended up at a lovely café right on Lake Rotorua.
After lunch, we visited the beautiful Government Gardens and the Blue Baths, and on our way back to the Port of Tauranga, we stopped at a tiny park with a fast moving stream - clear to the bottom - where we fed ducks - and trout - with bread supplied by Dennis and Flash.
We arrived back at the ship in plenty of time before "all aboard".
We were most surprised to hear that Dennis and Flash had only owned Terry Tours for a year - they were so knowledgeable, patient, polite, and generous that we thought they'd been doing this all their lives. These are two guys who really try harder and deserve your business. If you're in Tauranga, do not miss this experience with Terry Tours. I'd give them 6 TripAdvisor "stars" if
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.